Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory
22 – 28 August 2019
- Great March of Return in Eastern Gaza Strip: 155 civilians injured, including 60 children, 2 women, and 7 paramedics.
- West Bank: 4 civilians injured.
- During 82 incursions into the West Bank: 79 civilians, including 9 children and a woman, arrested
- Notices to confiscate 1186 dunums in eastern Qalqiliyah for settlement expansion; a house and restaurant demolished in Bethlehem, and a Palestinian forced to self-demolish his house in occupied East Jerusalem.
- 4 shooting incidents reported against Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza shores in addition to a limited incursion into eastern Gaza Strip.
- 57 temporary checkpoints erected in the West Bank.
- Fuel supply into Gaza Strip reduced by half
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 159 violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory.
As part of the Israeli violations of the right to life and bodily integrity, Israeli forces injured 155 Palestinian civilians, including 60 children, 2 women, and 7 paramedics, were injured at the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, 4 were injured in the West Bank.
As part of the Israeli incursions and house raids, Israel carried out 79 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and raided civilian houses, attacking and enticing fear among residents in addition to shooting in many incidents. Moreover, 82 Palestinians were arrested, including 9 children and a woman. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces carried out one limited incursion into the eastern Gaza Strip.
Under the settlement expansion activities in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, PCHR documented 8 violations, including forcing a civilian to self-demolish a house as well as notices to confiscate 1186 dunumns in favour of building 120 new settlement units and annexing them to “Karnei Shomron” settlement, east of Qalqiliyah in addition to demolishing a house and a restaurant in Bethlehem. Further, the Israeli forces levelled an agricultural road in al-‘Ein area, west of Ramallah. The settlers also carried out 4 attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank.
During the reporting period, the Israeli naval forces continued their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen and their equipment at sea though sailing within the allowed fishing area. This week witnessed 4 shooting and chasing incidents against the fishermen and their boats.
In terms of the Israeli closure policy, it should be highlighted that Israel continues its closure of the Gaza Strip for the 14th consecutive year, severely restricting the freedom of movement of persons and goods and isolating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the West Bank is divided into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation and with temporary and permanent checkpoints. During this week, 57 temporary military checkpoints were erected.
- Violation of the right to life and to bodily integrity
- Excessive Use of Force against the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip
The 71th Great March of Return took off in eastern Gaza Strip on Friday, 23 August 2019, titled “Protests for al-Aqsa Mosque.” The Israeli attacks resulted in 155 injuries among civilians, including 60 children, 2 women and 7 paramedics.
The incidents were as follows:
- Northern Gaza Strip: At approximately 15:30 on Friday, 23 August 2019, hundreds of civilians marched towards the central tent of the Great March of Return in Abu Safiyah area, northeast of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. The protest, titled “Protests for al-Aqsa Mosque,” involved activities such as national songs of the Palestinian heritage, speeches by political leaders in addition to raising the Palestinian flag. At approximately 16:00, Israeli forces stationed behind sand berms and in military vehicles along the border fence, fired live and rubber bullets as well as teargas canisters at the protesters. As a result, 40 of them were injured, including 21 children, a woman and a paramedic: 27, including 16 children, were shot with live bullets and their shrapnel; 6 were hit with tear gas canisters, including 2 children; and 7, including 3 children and a woman, were hit with rubber bullets. The wounded paramedic, Na’im Bashir Mohammed Khader (32) was hit with a rubber bullet to the right arm. Those wounded civilians were transferred via ambulances of the Ministry of Health and Union of Health Work Committees to the Indonesian and al-‘Awdah Hospitals; and their wounds classified between minor and moderate. Ibrahim Farid Ibrahim Dawas (27) sustained serious injury after being hit with a live bullet that penetrated the right shoulder and settled in the chest. The clashes continued until 19:45. Many civilians, who suffered tear gas inhalation, received medical treatment on the spot
- Gaza City: hundreds of civilians marched in eastern Malakah area, east of Gaza City. Speeches, theatrical performances and other segments were performed at the protest central encampment. Dozens of protestors approached the fence at a 100 meters distance and raised the Palestinian flags, fired balloons, set tires on fire and threw stones with slingshots at Israeli soldiers. The soldiers fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 17 were injured, including 3 children and a paramedic: 8 with live bullets, 8 with rubber bullets and 1 with a tear gas canister. The wounded paramedic, Mohammed Ismail Sa’ed Abu Qadous (32) was hit with a rubber bullet to his right foot.
- Central Gaza Strip: at approximately 15:00, 600 participants took part in the eastern Bureij refugee camp protests, which were about 400 meters away from the border fence. Tens gathered adjacent to the border fence at a range varying between 2 – 70 meters. At approximately 17:10, some protestors fired balloons containing letters written in Hebrew in addition to Palestinian flags, others threw stones and sound bombs at Israeli soldiers with slingshots. The Israeli soldiers, reinforced with 9 military SUVs, responded with live and rubber bullets in addition to teargas canisters at the protesters, wounding 29 civilians, including 11 children, and a paramedic; one of whom were seriously injured. Among those injured, 16 were shot with live bullets, 4 were hit with shot with rubber bullets and 9 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedic, Mohammed Abdul Qader Abu ‘Abdah (23), sustained minor wounds after being hit with a rubber bullet to the hand. the civilian, who sustained serious wounds identified as: Mohsen Sa’ed Mo’awaqd al-Jarbah (23) was hit with a live bullet to the jaw.
- Khan Younis: thousands participated in Khuza’ah protests. Tens approached the border fence and attempted to throw stones, and fireworks and raised Palestinian flags in addition to chanting national songs; few numbers of them approached the border fence and raised the Palestinian flags there. Israeli forces fired live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at protesters, wounding 45 civilians, including 20 children and 2 paramedics:10 with live bullet and their shrapnel; 25 with rubber bullets; and 10 with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedics were identified as: Mustafa ‘Emad Yusuf al-Senwar (22), hit with a rubber bullet to the neck; and Sami Mousa Abu Mustafa (27) hit with a rubber bullet to the lower extremities.
- Rafah: 2500 participated in the eastern Shokah protests, where folklore shows, and speeches were held. Dozens approached the border fence and threw stones. The Israeli soldiers used live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters against the protestors. As a result, 24 civilians were injured, including 5 children and 2 paramedics including a female; 2 of the wounded civilians sustained serious wounds. It was documented that18 were hit with live bullets and their shrapnel, 2 were hit with rubber bullets and 2 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedics were identified as: Ibrahim Mazen Suleiman Abu Khatlah (19), was shot with a live bullet to the left leg, and Islam Sobhi Yusuf Abu Shawish (29) was hit with a rubber bullet to the head.
- Excessive Use of Force against Protests in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
- At approximately 10:00 on Thursday, 22 August 2019, Palestinians from Betunia village, west of Ramallah made their way to the entrance of “Ofer” military camp established on lands in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in the Israeli prisons. When the protestors approached the entrance, Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. An Israeli soldier beat up and pushed Zaid Fawzi Sawaftah (25), from Tubas, and then arrested him. No casualties were reported.
- At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 23 August 2019, Palestinians from Kufor Qaddoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah launched their weekly peaceful protest and headed towards the village’s eastern entrance that has been closed by Israeli forces for the past 15 years in favor of “Kedumim” settlement. The demonstrators chanted national slogans demanding end of the occupation and protested the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers stationed behind sand berms while the soldiers fired sponge-tipped bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, 3 civilians were shot with sponge-tipped bullets: a 28-year-old in the foot; a 42-year-old in the chest; and a 50-year-old civilian in the abdomen. Israeli forces engaged in a fistfight with children brusing them. Two of the children were identified as ‘Ezz Mohammed Rajab Jom’ah (6) and Ayham Ra’ed Eshtiwi (7), who was arrested and released later. Furthermore, Israeli forces arrested Ihab ‘Awni Abdul Qader Eshtiwi (31), a person with disability, and Gassan Sami ‘Assaf (27), from Kufor Laqef village, east of Qalqiliyah. It should be noted that Israeli forces released Eshtiwi and kept ‘Assaf under arrest.
- Shooting and other violations of the right to life and bodily integrity
- At approximately 06:30 on Thursday, 22 August 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia shore in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 – 3 nautical miles and chased them. This attack continued until 09:50 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no arrests were reported.
- At approximately 06:50 on Monday, 26 August 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no arrests were reported.
- At approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 27 August 2019, Israeli forces moved into al-‘Issawiyah village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem. They stationed in ‘Obeid neighborhood in the village and patrolled the street. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the soldiers, who responded with rubber bullets and sound bombs. As a result, Mousa Yusuf ‘Obeid (65) was hit with a sound bomb to the back while present in front of his house. He was transferred to a medical center for treatment. The soldiers also raided and searched a number of houses; Majd Mohammed Darwish (29) and Mohammed Husein ‘Obeid (18) were arrested.
- At approximately 16:30, Israeli gunboats stationed in western Rafah shore, northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; neither casualties nor material damage was reported.
- At approximately 08:30 on Wednesday, 28 August 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives; no arrests were reported.
Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem
- Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property for Settlement Expansion Activities
- On Saturday, 24 August 2019, Mohamed al-‘Abasi implemented the Israeli Municipality decision to self-demolish his house located in al-Bobariyia area in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. Al-‘Abasi said that he was forced to self-demolish his house after receiving a demolition notice, otherwise the municipality would demolish it and bill him. Al-‘Abasi also clarified that his 60-sqaure-meter, 2 bedroom, house was built in 2014 and pointed out that he preferred to self-demolish his house to avoid paying the demolition costs.
- On Sunday, 25 August 2019, Israeli forces handed Palestinian landlords construction notices of 120 new settlement housing units to be annexed to “Karni Shomron”“settlement, which is established in Qannah Valley, east of Qalqiliyia, and Sahlat Tu’imah area, northwest of Salfit. The notified lands belong to:
- The heirs of the late ‘Abed al-Qader Mahmoud Sahban: 96 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late Yousef Samhan Mahmoud: 159 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late Taher Mahmoud Zaghloul: 67 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late Yousef Mousa Zaghloul: 100 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late ‘Abed Mahmoud Zaghloul: 280 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late ‘Ali Saleem Hussain Abu Hajlah: 280 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- The heirs of the late Mousa Abu Hajlah: 41 dunums in Sahlat Tu’imah area.
- ‘Abed al-Raheem Qaddoura ‘Ali: 96 dunums.
- ‘Abed Mas’oud Zaghloul: 67 dunums.
- At approximately 13:00 on Wednesday, 28 August 2019, Israeli forces levelled an agricultural road in al-‘Ain area near al-Tirah village, west of Ramallah, under the pretext of approximating the annexation wall. Eyewitnesses said that at approximately 13:00, Israeli forces accompanied with a bulldozer moved into the village and levelled an 800 square meter agricultural road without a prior warning. It should be noted that the this road is vital for the village’s residents to access school and work, now forced to use a longer route.
- At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 27 August 2019, Hasan Barijiyah, Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance in Bethlehem, said that Israeli bulldozers demolished a 400-square-meter house and a 350-sqaure-meter restaurant belonging to Ramzi Qaysiyia in al-Makhrour area, northwest of Beit Jala in Bethlehem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Barijiyah pointed out that this is the 3rd demolition targeting the restaurant for settlement expansion purposes. Qaysiyia’s daughter, Alice, said that the Israeli forces handed the family a notice to demolish the house and restaurant 2 years ago and since then, the family has been trying to cancel the demolition decision and appeal it. She added that the Israeli forces returned to the family house a week ago and notified the family of their intention to demolish the house and restaurant. The Israeli forces allowed them to vacate essential items from their house but they did not manage to vacate anything from the restaurant.
It should be noted that the total area of Makhrour area is 2000 dunums; most of which were seized by Israel to build the Bypass Road (60) and tunnel. Moreover, the Israeli authorities seek to annex the land and its environs to achieve territorial cohesion between “Har Gilo” and “Gush Etzion” settlements, which are located between Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern West Bank, as a prelude to implement the so-called “Greater Jerusalem Project.”
- Israeli Settler Violence
- At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 23 August 2019, a group of Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ vehicles passing the main street between Ras Karkar and Kherbitha Bani Haritha, near “Modi’in“ settlement, west of Ramallah. No injuries among civilians or damage to their vehicles were reported.
- At approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 24 Augsut 2019, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Kiryat Arba“ settlement, east of Hebron, threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ vehicles passing through Bypass Road (60). No injuries among Palestinian civilians or damage to their vehicles were reported.
- At approximately 18:00, a group of Israeli settlers, from “Modi’in “ settlement, which is established in the lands of Beit Sira and Beit ‘Ur Tahta, and Safa in western Ramallah, threw stones at Palestinian civilians’ vehicles the Bypass Road near ‘Ain Ayoub area inside Ras Karkar village, west of the city. No injuries among civilians or damage to their vehicles were reported.
- At approximately 21:30 on Saturday, Israeli settlers, from “Yatizhar” settlement on Nablus-Ramallah Street, south of Nablus, threw stones at a Palestinian vehicle belonging to Hanadi Husam Suliman Dowikat (37). Dowikat was going to her parents’ house in Bita village with her daughter Miryanah (18 months). As a result, the vehicle’s windshield window was broken.